Digital agency for charities moves to employee ownership model

28 Jun 2019 News

A digital agency that works with non-profit clients in product development and marketing is transferring its whole business to its 65 employees.

Torchbox clients include the MS Society, Samaritans and Oxfam, as well as the NHS and NASA with open source CMS Wagtail.

The agency’s employees will gain a £3,600 bonus annually and have elected four trustee directors from their ranks, who will oversee strategy.

Staff from offices in Bristol and Oxfordshire applied for the trustee directorial position by submitting a 100-word bid that explained their strengths.

The business model

Olly Willans and Tom Dyson, who founded the agency in 2000 will be part of the trust of directors for five years until their majority stake is repaid by the business.

The business model will be similar to that of the John Lewis Partnership, where staff decide how profits are directed via the trust.

Dyson said: “We plan to spend the next five years focused on maintaining the business’s growth and success, continuing with our US expansion plans and ensuring we hit our targets.”

Deb Oxley OBE, chief exectuive of the Employee Ownership Association said: “We congratulate Torchbox on its transition to employee ownership. 

“By widening ownership of the business to its employees Torchbox is securing the future of the business, including its ethos, values and employees, while rooting itself locally for the longer term to the benefit of the community which it serves.”


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